Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Hello all!

I just wanted to thank you all for the past year! I really appreciate your support to World of Cigars. Despite and due to the current global financial turmoil truly hope, that next year will be profitable for you all, and that together we can continue supporting the cigar industry and the good life.

Cheers,

Mikko

Review - CAO Maduro Belicoso - 83/100


Something was terribly wrong with this cigar. I do not know, if this review is going to give the full picture of the CAO Maduro Belicoso, and i will have to revisit it as soon as i can, but i will review it rather sooner than later anyway.

As you know, many factors are essential to a full experience of a good cigar, and if any of the factors is a miss, then the experience can be most unsatisfying. This is what happened with my CAO Maduro. Do, not get me wrong here. I enjoyed it to an extend, but to get to the enjoyment part, i had to face some serious obstacles. First "fragrance" rising from the cigar was unmistakably manour. Nothing more, nothing less, just manour. I had to think twice wether or not i should light up the cigar at all.

The cigar is well rolled and looks good with a shiny wrapper on top. It draws well and burns quite evenly. Furthermore, the cigar has a medium body and a good blend of sweet tobacco and coffee flavours with a hint of spice and cedar in the finish. Most enjoyable mix of flavours, if it were not for the manour on the side, pushing to your nose and making the whole cigar fall out of balance and high scores. All the points the cigar gets from me, raising it to a decent 82 points , are to do with other things than taste and aroma, scoring only 2/10 in that category. And those two points in aroma are gifted to the other characteristics of the blend

As i said, i have to revisit the CAO Maduro Belicoso asap, as i have to believe, that my experience was a onetimer. Later then...

Origin: Nigaragua


Construction 18/20
Appearance 18/20
Smoke/Ash 8/10
Burn 18/20
Draw 18/20
Aroma 2/10 (2,3,2)

TOTAL POINTS 82/100

Review - CAO Cameroon Belicoso - 90/100

The CAO Cameroon L'anniversaire Belicoso is one of the few box pressed cigars i have smoked in a long time. Somehow, i prefer the round shape. The pressed ones just do not sit so well on my fingers. Blame the fingers.

Anyway, the cigar is very beautiful. The veinless wrapper shines in golden leather colours and the rolling and construction seem to be almost flawless. And that really shows and feels in the draw and burn.

I have always liked the Belicoso/Piramide vitolas, as they usually have great draw and they allow the tobacco to burn cool and even, simultaniously focusing the flavours towards the tapering end...

Flavourwise, the CAO Cameroon Belicoso is a great cigar. It has a certain "honesty" in its essence. On the milder side, the cigar offers some profound earthy flavours, combined with a sideline of spices. Toss in the sweet tastes of caramel and roasted sugar and there you have it. Nicely balanced, interesting cigar, with enough character and depth to receive a high score.

Origin: Nigaragua

Construction 19/20
Appearance 17/20
Smoke/Ash 7/10
Burn 19/20
Draw 20/20
Aroma 8/10 (8,8,7)

TOTAL POINTS 90/100

Monday, 22 December 2008

Review - CAO MX2 Beli - 86/100


The CAO MX2 Beli is a huge cigar. It is huge, not only in size, but in overall appearance too. Its shiny, next to black Conneticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper is an awesome sight. The wrapper is also one of the thickest i have seen in a while. The wrapper is however very uneven and has strong discolorations, and that lowers the total points unfortunately...

Similar to the Sopranos edition from CAO, the tobacco used in the MX2 is from all around. In addition to the Conneticut wrapper, the binder comes from Brazil and the filler from all over Central America. This should give the cigar complexity and depth, but once again, the different leafs with different charachteristics seem to dissapear behind one layer of simplicity.

The medium bodied MX2 Beli is a good, well balanced cigar, with an earthy profile with tones of dark chocolate and espresso - familiar flavours for maduro lovers... The cigar also has a nice spicy touch. The overall flavour profile did not develope much after the spicy beginning smoothing down when reaching the half way mark. From that point forward, the cigar had a very generous creamy feel to it.

A decend smoke that needs a lot of spare time due to its monstrous size. For that, not an everyday smoke.

Origin: Nigaragua

Construction 18/20
Appearance 16/20
Smoke/Ash 9/10
Burn 18/20
Draw 17/20
Aroma 7/10 (7,8,7)

TOTAL POINTS 85/100


Review - CAO Sopranos Associate - 89/100


You probably cannot smoke and review any CAO Sopranos cigar without some expectations of what to come. I know I already created a clear picture of the Robusto sized Associate cigar inspired by its name and appearance only. However, what came as a surprise to me, was that the image in my head did not fully go together with the true nature of the cigar.

In a local magazine, Mr. Olli Alho described the wrapper to be "as dark as a hitman's soul", and indeed, it is a fair picture of the mentality of the TV series Sopranos. However, that is where the similarities between the series and the cigar end, atleast in my view about them both together and separately.

I think the Associate is generally considered as a full bodied smoke, but i quite did not buy that one. A robust medium perhaps. Medium, medium to full...

As mentioned before, the wrapper is very dark brown with a beautiful golden hue to it. The cigar feels great in the fingers and the unlit, sweet chocolate and tobacco fragrance makes your mouth water. What the cigar loses in a slightly uneven burn, it gains in great draw, good looking ash and generous white smoke.

What comes to the flavours of the cigar, it could be much more complex. Although the tobacco leaves used as wrapper and filler are from all over the map, they do not succeed in giving all their potential depth and variety into the blend. The blend is balanced, in the sense, that no flavour becomes overpowering in any stage of the cigar, but all in all it is a simple and straight forward in taste. All along the way, the cigar is sharing out sweet tobacco, coffee and chocolate flavours.

All in all, the CAO Sopranos Associate is a good smoke for an afternoon coffee or together with a darker beer, but it probably is not what you would expect the Family to be like, if you would meet them in person. I hope you will not owe them money if you ever do...

Origin: Nigaragua

Construction 19/20
Appearance 19/20
Smoke/Ash 9/10
Burn 17/20
Draw 18/20
Aroma 7/10 (7,8,7)

TOTAL POINTS 89/100

Friday, 19 December 2008

House of Grauer Luxury Chocolates - The Cigar Smoker's Chocolate Companion


I think there is no better time to write and review some luxury chocolates, than now, Christmas on our door step, just asking permission to enter our prepared homes. What makes this write up even more enjoyeable, is that the chocolates made by House of Grauer have been made for enjoyment with quality cigars. This unique concept combines two things i love profoundly.

According their own words, Grauer chocolates are an online revolution for cigar aficionados. Grauer House has created the concept of "chocolate and cigar pairings" based on a very simple idea, namely that the pleasure of smoking should not be limited to the universe of the cigar. When enjoyed together, chocolate and cigars bring out the very best in one another. With each mouthful you will experience a new alliance, and your palate will discover an unsuspected world of harmony.


The chocolates themselves are produced by hand according to the tradition of Swiss chocolates, using traditional techniques but modern recipes. Each different type of chocolate has their distinctive character build up from the high quality ingredients carefully picked to create an unique composition of taste, appearance and texture.



The philosophy behind the Aficionado's Collection is to create new sensations together with the characteristic flavours from the cocoa bean and the tobacco leaf. The aim to create a harmony between the flavours and to offer something more - a new experience through the balance of the two products.

Online, House of Grauer presents their carefully selected pairings and gives guidance on how to select the right chocolate for the right range of flavors in a cigar. In all simplicity, you can order your chocolates online, delivered within 48 hours worldwide, then go to your humidor, pick your favourite cigar, check out the pairings on the web to choose a suitable chocolate and finally enjoy the extended experience.

The selection of chocolates is wide, and i have to say, they are all exquisit! From all the different flavours and pairings i tried with the small sampler provided, i found two over the others.

1. The Hawaiian Kona Coffee Bean chocolate together with Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios cigar

2. The Italian Lime chocolate together with Ramon Allones Specially Selected cigar


I myself, did not take the pairing guidance from the pages as given, and went with cigars i thought had some of the characteristics described there rather than blindly going with the suggestions.

I will not go into describing every different chocolate, as they are all unique, and you might as well go to http://www.grauerchocolates.com/ and try them yourself. All in all, I highly recommend the experience.


cheers and happy holidays!

Mikko